I wanted to start a conversation with fellow hosts in Honolulu, HI. How do you feel about the recent bills?
Here's my response to another thread....
"Im not too worried.... Bill 85 and 89 (has anyone read it yet?) have legalese that contradict each other. While the City approved it... the mayor hasn't signed it into law yet. He may lean to sign Bill 89.
Besides, the City doesn't have the manpower to cite homes. In order to be cited, a huge burden of proof lies on the City... a contract (airbnb payment/receipt) has to be found as evidence among other things. People going in an out of a house is not grounds for citation. The City has to have a huge burden of proof to sue. They can't even get records from Airbnb! So don't buy into the scare mongering/propaganda.
So I tell my guests that if anyone(city inspector) approaches them ... first tell that person to get off my private property and have the conversation on public property (street/sidewalk)
then feign ignorance, not say anything, and pretent to not know what Airbnb is and at worst say they're just house sitting.
Besides, an attorney will sue the City based on the contradiction and that'll be tied up in court for a long while. That lawyer is gonna walk away with a pretty penny on the backs of the Hawaiian taxpayers..
It seems that this is all political theater to have us look away from the failed rail, failed prosector dept, and 'Save Sherwoods' scandals.
I'm surprised how ignorant Hawaiian citizens are.... they can write formal letter of complaints to the Hawaii State Bar to get rid of these corrupt judges and lawyers. Watch dog groups in Boston, Massachusetts and across the country do this on the daily. Hawaiian politicians are only "getting away" with it because Hawaiian citizens don't seem to know how public office works or hold their own officials accountable."
We are due to travel in October and booked my airbnb ( 4 nights) 6 months ago. My host cancelled on me two days ago. I got no explanation, just a message from airbnb telling me they'll "help" find something similar. (Nothing was suitable)
Because I had an email thread from my host I asked her why. She explained because of the new laws and was surprised airbnb didn't explain why she had cancelled. So from a traveller's perspective I am really disappointed with them and their lack of transparency.
At least I got a refund but I am left with very little choice but a much more expensive hotel room. Not at all happy about it.
I feel for you all too. Not many people can afford to take 30 days vacation.
I am so sorry that this has happened to your wonderful vacation plans, Susie. Many hosts cancelled reservations because the penalties are so steep and it isn't worth the risk. Some waited to do so hoping for some clarity or change to the new law. Your host should have written you and explained why he/she needed to cancel. But I bet Airbnb finds you a great alternative. Best of luck to you!
I want to add to this conversation of hosting an Airbnb on Oahu...with 3 comments:
I agree that the enforcement of those of us using the Airbnb site to rent out our rentals "illegally" will be a long time coming. Most of us already have guests booked and won't want to cancel and disrupt their plans and income these guests will generate.
I know of a friend who already pays the transient tax as well as excise tax, even though he doesn't have a permit. I told him I think it is odd and interesting that the tax collectors have accepted his money??
I have had an idea for a long time that might help us in the news and make us proud of our Airbnb community....I would like to get all of us Airbnb hosts to agree to put a percentage of our earnings to help our homeless community on Oahu. We can do better than our hotel industry in many ways.
While enforcement may take a while as of August 1st it will be illegal to post rentals on Airbnb and other platforms. It's up to u whether u want to roll the dice and continue to operate. I think the government will eventually get around to finding and fining us.
The state is collecting the excise and TAT taxes. The city is enforcing the short term rental restrictions. And never the twain shall meet....
Honorable idea but moot as we will all be "former" Airbnb hosts.
FYI, there are no legal penalties for guests who have booked vacation rentals. The penalties area borne by the hosts. Different hosts and different guests are responding differently. Whatever happens, I hope you have a wonderful time on Oahu. :-)
Aloha all...I've snoozed my listing from 8/1-1/2/2020. That's as far as the calendar will allow. Snoozing removes the listing from searches during the period.
I haven't de-listed yet in hopes that common sense will kick in but that may be a pipe dream.
Still haven't cancelled guests who already have reservations with me after Aug 1st but after reading bill 89 I interpret it to be illegal to host and will face potential fines if I don't cancel. Hate to do that but see no alternative to saying goodbye to Airbnb (and the income!). Does anyone have another view?
All advertising will be illegal, not just advertising on Airbnb and VRBO/Home Away. There are many places one could advertise that may be below the city's radar - at least for the immediate future - but any way you slice it, advertising is proof you're in the vacation rental business and that business is illegal without a permit. :-(
I've reached out to AirBnB a few times with no real answers. I just tried again via their messaging system, writing:
"Can I please be put in direct touch with the AirBnB legal team for Hawaii? There are about 8,000 of us that are about to become illegal AirBnB hosts starting August 1st due to a bill that was recently passed and signed into law. We have been trying to get help from AirBnB or an understanding of what is going to happen with zero help or response from the AirBnB team. There are even a couple of threads up asking for help and advice on the community board with no response. Thanks so much!"
I have some ideas and strategies for myself personally to continue to be able to host and for AirBnB to incorporate to either reduce the likelihood of a fine, or to keep things legal, but only if they will actually listen rather than keep on feeding me cookie cutter responses stating that I need to check with my local laws and representatives.
Thanks Lauren! That helps.
For those that are wondering - Matt Middlebrook apparently is the head of Public Policy for Hawaii, California, and Alaska.
Going to wait and see what AirBnB's response is before I try contacting Matt directly.
You can definitely change your listing to a 30 day minimum. But the only potential guests who will see it are those with a visit date range of 30+ days. There are not many fish in that pond. There is no word from Airbnb. Home Away at least sent a "We're working on our response email." Safest thing is to start looking for a long term tenant if you have an ohana or other private space.
I'm sure many people will roll the dice. Some will take down their listing as of 8/1 but keep bookings that were made for dates after 8/1. Some will keep their listings exactly as they were. But unless Airbnb initiates and wins a legal challenge, they are compelled to turn over booking data on each and every listing come September. That data will have your address, the number and length of the bookings and your gross revenue. It will not matter that you pay your GET and TAT - the activity will be illegal for the next fifteen months. Then, in October, you will have a chance to apply for one of those coveted 1,700 bed and breakfast permits. But there are a ton of restrictions and requirements associated with those permits.
I am optimistic that as this plays out, the Mayor and the anti-VR contingent will see the issue was less black and white and far more nuanced than they believed. But I don't think we can hope for any change before that permit process begins and the impact has been felt. So, I'm looking at two years of long (longer) term renting and significantly reduced income.